Large crowd celebrates unveiling of Tawa memorial

Large crowd celebrates unveiling of Tawa memorial

The newly built Tawa Memorial was wholeheartedly embraced by the local community on ANZAC Day, just three days after it was officially unveiled.

Over 100 people gathered near the Tawa RSA for the unveiling and dedication of the Tawa Memorial last Saturday.

The memorial commemorated the 13 Tawa soldiers who gave their lives while serving in the South African War and two World Wars.

It had taken the Tawa Historical Society over a decade to get approval for the memorial at the northern end of Oxford St adjacent to Grasslees Reserve. It features extensive paving, landscaping and plenty of seating.

It was estimated to have cost  $170,000.

The unveiling was attended by local MP Peter Dunne, northern ward city councillors Jill Day, Malcolm Sparrow and Peter Gilberd, and included speeches by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and Air Vice-Marshall Kevin Short of the RNZAF.

The Air Vice-Marshall said the memorial was a great addition to the community.

“Tawa now has a fitting place to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of its service personnel, a place of reflection and a focal point for commemoration. In small communities such as Tawa the loss of these men would have affected everyone.”

The mayor praised the Tawa community for its dedication to the project over such a long period as well as the togetherness they showed.

“Tawa is not just one of the strongest communities in Wellington, but in all of New Zealand.”

Tawa Historical Society chairperson Bruce Murray thanked everyone who  had helped make the dream a reality.

He told the audience the stories of two of the fallen men, William Clachan and Milton Mexted, who both died and were buried abroad, but whose memory had now been brought back to their home community via the memorial.

Murray said he chose this date for the unveiling as it was exactly 112 years to the day since Mexted was born.

Murray said the memorial was a reminder to all to love one another, whether they be friend or foe.

“We must love another. That above all is what this memorial says to us and will say for the generations of Tawa children still to come and that is what we must remember to tell them.”

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Article by Sean Nugent

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Article by Sean Nugent

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